The Simpsons have won loyal fans over with its fractured reflection on classic sitcom concepts, and warped reflection of modern life. This dysfunctional outlook earned it some friends and enemies, yet remains constant as the show, and society itself evolves. The viewpoint of The Simpsons made a suitable setting for some Crazy Taxi, with the focus on profit and speed, coming straight off plot lines of some of The Simpsons most celebrated episodes. In 2001, home consoles got a hefty dose of animated arcade-like action in The Simpsons Road Rage.
The opening cutscene swiftly introduces the audience to the premise, Mr Burns has brought out the entirety of public transport and replaced them with nuclear-powered buses. Homer, watching the news broadcast about the purchase, decides to profit off this predicament, by starting his taxi service. You must navigate the roads of Springfield, making quick haste to make quick bucks, while giving little to no regard for road safety.
Road Rage offers a 3D rendering of Springfield, broken down into seven unique districts, the 3D graphics have improved somewhat with the new generation of consoles. The cell-shaded yet rounded look of the characters, settings and vehicles gives the world of Road Rage its style. This depiction is more typical to the colours of the show, versus the imaginative palette of the Gameboy Advance port. In a way, it does feel more realistic to the show, yet without having to rely on 2D graphics. Like in Crazy Taxi, actual landmarks of Springfield serve as pick up and destination spots, and it is a real treat to see callbacks from episodes over 10 years. You get accustomed to the levels soon and realise the fun is in the mastery of the shortcuts, all while dodging traffic, the nuclear-powered buses of Mr Burns.
The money you earn is accumulated into unlocks, these can include districts and cars, giving you more reasons to play and repeat play. The music retains that zeitgeist defining sound even though it is a different composer, Marc Baril’s mixture of genres accentuates the rapid action and thirst for speed that underlines every session of gameplay. The cast of the show also returns to voice dialogue crafted just for the game, and as a fan of the show, it is fun to hear the characters exchange new words to each other.
Crazy Taxi’s loose take on road safety rules is a perfect fit for the established Simpsons world, and it feels more appropriate to let loose in an already warped world. The music and dialogue make dashing through Springfield an incredibly rewarding event for fans, one that you will want to repeat as you collect every unlockable, and the gameplay makes Road Rage a fun pick-up-and-play experience, with more value than most taxi rides.
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